Chicago Students Protest CASE Test

K-12 Testing

A group of students, teachers and parents rallied outside the Chicago School Board headquarters in January, protesting the innundation of their schools with tests and the transformation of their high school learning experience into little more than test preparation.


Growing out of a student-led effort begun last year (see Examiner, Summer 1999), the protest included about 100 students from a dozen schools in Chicago. Chanting “Erase the CASE,” students argued that increasing focus on the Chicago Academic Standards Examinations (CASE) is stifling educational creativity and lessons in critical thinking at their high schools. Next year scores on the CASE exam will count for 25 percent of students’ grades.


Chicago school chief Paul Vallas responded sympathetically to the call for fewer exams, but vowed to continue administering the CASE. Instead he has recommended to the state education board that the Illinois Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE) be replaced with an existing college entrance exam, such as the ACT or SAT.


However, state officials subsequently announced that they may actually expand mandated standardized testing. One plan would double the number of students required to take the Illinois Standards Achievement Test in grades 3 through 10. It also may combine the PSAE with a new test created by ACT, Inc. that would eventually be used as a high-stakes exit exam.